CEE-focused VC firm Presto Ventures closes its second fund and wants to help 40 B2B tech startups in Central and Eastern Europe grow faster by backing them with capital and any resources their businesses require. With its first fund, Presto contributed many startups including Tallinn-based virtual identity platform Wolf3D, Finnish artificial intelligence tool designer Pibox along with open data platform Okredo, transportation management system developer GoRamp and ad tracking and conversions attribution platform RedTrack from Lithuania.
Presto Ventures closes €30M Fund II to Invest Fast and Early in Central & Eastern European B2B Startups
Presto Ventures, a VC fund investing in early-stage B2B startups from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), has announced the final close of its €30 million Fund II. Through this fund, Presto will invest in up to forty B2B tech startups at seed and pre-seed stages in the CEE region, supporting them with fast access to capital, fast business development, and fast growth. Presto has already invested in startups such as Cloudtalk, IP Fabric, Yieldigo, Sharry and Wolf3D.
In 2021, venture capital investment in CEE startups topped €5.4 billion, beating the previous all-time high of €2.3 billion in 2019. These startups now have a combined value of over €200 billion, up by more than 20x since 2010 (Dealroom). In recent years, the CEE region has produced a number of enterprise software success stories thanks to its extensive STEM talent. However, despite the success, the region still faces a number of challenges limiting its full potential. Investment decisions are slow compared to the US or UK, and there is a scarcity of sales and marketing talent.
With this new fund, Presto wants to accelerate the success of B2B startups founded in CEE by providing fast and smart seed money and resources that address the region’s specific issues. Presto’s key value-add consists of the deep domain expertise of its partners and investors, all former founders and operators with technical backgrounds and experience building and scaling B2B tech companies in the CEE region. As successful entrepreneurs and exited founders themselves, the team is able to understand the technical founder perspective and make fast investment decisions, while subsequently providing their know-how and industry connections. The emphasis is on substantially speeding up founders’ success in the next stages of building revenue, product-market fit, and hiring top international talent in the tech B2B space.
“We know there is fantastic startup potential in the CEE region; however, the most ambitious founders still need to fight too many friction points – including a lack of access to global capital and expertise. Our goal is to increase access to the guidance and resources needed to fast-track the next generation of company builders, rolling up our sleeves and providing hands-on support to help them succeed,” said Přemysl Rubeš, Founder and Managing Partner at Presto Ventures.
Rubeš is a former mathematician, holding scientific and engineering degrees from the Nuclear Sciences Faculty at CTU Prague and ENSTA ParisTech.
Presto Ventures also announced the appointment of three new partners. Roman Nováček, a CFA charterholder and ex-analyst at US private equity firm GTE. Recently named on Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2022, Nováček is also one of the youngest partners at a CEE VC firm, and will oversee financial planning and analytics at Presto. Also joining are Vojta Roček, who founded and sold business intelligence startup Stories.bi to Workday, and Eduard Kučera, who built and managed the Business Intelligence department of cybersecurity giant Avast. There, he played a pivotal role in the company’s hypergrowth, M&A activities and IPO. The new additions boost the fund’s credentials in diverse areas such as blockchain, data, cybersecurity, enterprise software and SaaS.
The new fund follows Presto’s initial success investing in fifteen startups through its first fund. Among them is Cloudtalk, a call centre solution provider poised to become Slovakia’s first unicorn, and Wolf3D, one of Estonia’s fastest growing startups that works with metaverse platforms as well as household brands like Adidas, Yieldigo, a Czech AI pricing platform founded by three mathematicians, and IP Fabric, a Prague-based startup building next generation IP network infrastructure management solutions.
“Since the beginning of last year, we have sat down with more than two thousand startups from across the region, from Pilsen to Tallinn. We have met incredibly talented founders, built a considerable pipeline, and have already invested in more than 20 companies. We are looking forward to ramping up our efforts and investing in 20 more exceptional teams in the coming months,” added Rubeš.
A number of globally renowned investors have joined Presto in its portfolio investments, including Y Combinator, Taavet+Sten, Point Nine Capital, Credo Ventures, Inven Capital, HenQ, KAYA, Senovo, Konvoy Ventures, and Startup Wise Guys. The fund is backed entirely by private investors, including family offices and a number of successful entrepreneurs and exited founders committed to expediting business connections and additional capital in follow-on rounds.